Tree Riesener



food for the starving
should have traces
of your body’s breath
the marks of your teeth

clothing your body’s heat
buttons ripped off
sleeves not yet collapsed

if you are giving your heart
let it be still beating

if vision for the blind

let your eye still see

beneath the scar

what lies
beneath the scar

does it float on top of clear flesh

or does the wound’s healing
go through to the bone

are a tree’s rings clear and whole
under the heart carved with sweethearts’ names

like ours
the tree’s hydrogen atoms
created twelve billion years ago in the big bang
still surge outward toward space

when the wholeness is compromised
the waves a foot or two on either side lighten
as they emanate outward

the distortions are gradually absorbed
as the waves travel
from the scene of the displacement
this is hopeful
for time and wounds

yet traces mark before and after trauma

the knot between white and yolk
deep into space or here
between wholeness or fragmentation

like simone weil’s wall



is your folder
in the doctor’s office worn
do the notes heart charts blood counts
have the limp soft look
of often-read letters
tied with ribbon

does he say
there must be instrumentation
a flat wooden stick to hold down your tongue
a shiny blunt probe in your ears
a light to revel in the backs of your eyes
your arms wrapped with heavy restraints
assaulted with pressure
electrical wires on your breasts
the rhythms of your heart revealed
grim confessions and secrets
written in his folder for rainy days

speak softly be careful

he will summon you again
photograph your organs
demand vials of urine blood
spread you out upon his table
drug you into peace
carve out his souvenirs
his eyes furtive burning will look away
he will speak into your ear
of a comet a butterfly smashed
a ghost walking
seats for two at baseball games

of planets slipping in their crystal tracks

aubade or nocturne

your time

was never mine
me on the subway
still full of wine
you warm and sleepy
deep under cover
your sun by the horizon
mine high in the sky

I live with my cohort
along this latitude
you with your tribe
scattered on another

between us mountains rivers thorns
our common longitude

after the throes
herring glow
where you are
will you let me know

illuminate the sky
like a ufo
send up fireworks
arc sparks fallen
from an airy construction site

not far the shared sky
your aurora will reach me
in time for your last breath
the fading light in your eyes


Tree Riesener is the author of Sleepers Awake, a collection of short fiction, winner of the Eludia Award, Sowilo Press, 2015, The Hubble Cantos, Aldrich Press, 2016, and EK, which will be published in 2017 by Cervena Barva Press.

Her website is

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s